Skip to main content

Pediatric Dentist


Can I get a pediatric dentist’s recommendation for teeth whitening swabs?

By Pediatric Dentist

I’m wondering if teeth whitening swabs are okay to use on my daughter’s teeth. If so, could one of your pediatric dentists give me a recommendation on which brand to use? I would like to use them over the summer to remove at least some of the stains. Her teeth are really yellow despite good hygiene at home. She was teased so much near the end of the school year. I promised her that we will do something about it before she returns to school in September because it will be her first year of middle school and that transition alone is enough without being teased. We searched online and found some swabs at a reasonable price. Will they get stubborn stains out of her teeth? – Lilly


Before you whiten your daughter’s teeth, you need the professional opinion of a pediatric dentist.

Why See a Pediatric Dentist before Using Teeth Whitening?

There are several benefits of doing so:

  • Determine the cause of the stains in her teeth
  • Examine her teeth and gums to ensure they are free of disease and decay
  • Anticipate the results of whitening them. Sometimes bleaching gel can make stains look worse.
  • Provide the correct type of whitening

Depending on the type and concentration of bleaching gel in the whitening swabs, they may or may not be effective. Swabs are not as effective as customized trays, which keep bleaching gel in contact with the teeth for even, thorough penetration that breaks down stains.

When you look at online reviews for whitening swabs, some people report good results, but the majority of users are disappointed with the results. Ask your child’s pediatric dentist to examine your daughter’s teeth and recommend treatment to improve the color of them.

This post is sponsored by Naperville Dental Specialists.

Dental Crowns installed for a patient by a Naperville dental specialist

Why Do Pediatric Dentists ALWAYS Do Silver Crowns?

By Pediatric Dentist

I have a question about pediatric dentistry. Although I’m not a parent, I am an elementary school teacher and just finished up my first year at a new school. The other teachers and I all got together for a last hurrah after the last day of class and somehow we got on the topic of the children’s teeth and why every pediatric dentist seems to prefer silver when doing crowns for kids. One suggested that it might be different in other parts of the state or country because a lot of our kids come from low-income homes. However, I’ve also seen kids who come from higher-income households with mouths full of silver, and I think there must be some other logical reason for it. Still, it’s odd because adults always get the white ones, right?

Thank you,

Ms. Smith


Dear Ms. Smith,

This is a great question. Before we get into the logic of silver fillings  it’s important to note that kids from any type of household can get tooth decay. Tooth decay is linked to oral hygiene, preventative care, diet, and habits the child has or had, such as taking a cup or bottle of juice or soda to bed. Moreover, some children are genetically predisposed to tooth decay.

There are also factors such as socioeconomical status and race which are linked with lower rates of preventative care, like cleanings and sealants. These children are also less likely to have tooth decay treated, which means by the time they see a pediatric dentist, the only option is a crown (possibly with a specialized root canal called a pulpotomy) or an extraction. So, then, it’s no surprise that if many of the students in your school come from low-income families and/or are minorities, they would likely have more dental issues.

There are organizations that help low-income families, and many states offer free dental coverage to children. Many parents are quite loving and dedicated, but they could be unaware of the options for getting dental care.

Why Do Pediatric Dentists Use Silver Crowns?

  • The cost. Baby teeth need to remain in place until the adult teeth erupt, so restoring them is preferred over extracting them. Stainless-steel crowns are less expensive than the tooth-colored crowns adults usually get. They come in premade shapes, so they can be placed inexpensively.
  • It reduces the number of visits. Many small children need anesthesia for dental work or are prone to wiggling, so limiting the number of visits is important. Because the crowns are premade, they can be placed in one visit.
  • Stainless steel is effective. When too much tooth structure is lost, a filling won’t preserve the tooth. It needs full coverage, which the stainless-steel crown provides.
  • It can protect the tooth longer. A crown can help prevent the tooth from further decay and repairs. It also helps protect it from sensitivity.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends stainless-steel crowns. For all these reasons, and more, the AAP recommends stainless steel. Doctors who use these crowns are following the recommendation.


This blog is sponsored by Naperville Dental Specialists.


Sealants Pediatric Dentist

Dental sealants from pediatric dentist fell out

By Pediatric Dentist

My 9 yr old son sees our pediatric dentist every 6 months for checkups. In April, the dentist insisted that my son get sealants for his teeth. The dentist said that they give kids nitrous for the procedure, although I thought it wasn’t necessary because my son loves going to the dentist. I had to pay out of pocket for the nitrous because my insurance doesn’t cover it.  Now the dentist says my son needs 3 of the 8 sealants replaced because they came off. She says that my son must have been eating something sticky like candied apples or taffy for the sealants to come out. My son has never eaten candied apples or taffy. My kids are only allowed to have sweets on the weekend, and I bake them. The dentist’s office expects me to pay for the new sealants. I didn’t ask, but I suppose they are going to insist on using nitrous again. I feel like finding another pediatric dentist, but I am wondering if there is a certain way I should handle this. What do you suggest? – Teri

Teri – Your son’s pediatric dentist likely used sealants because they are very effective in preventing tooth decay. Children in your son’s age range are usually able to brush and floss on their own, but they often miss brushing in deep crevices. Dentists recommend sealants to protect permanent teeth from decay.

When a pediatric dentist properly applies sealants, they can last ten years or more. If your son’s sealants have fallen out already, there might be a problem with the way they were placed. You have already mentioned that you don’t allow your children to eat sweet, sticky foods, so that issue isn’t the cause of the issue.

Options for Replacing Dental Sealants from the Pediatric Dentist

  • We recommend that you speak with the office manager at your son’s pediatric dentist and ask if the sealants can be replaced at no charge.
  • You can also request that the sealants be replaced without sedating your son with nitrous oxide, given your son’s good track record of cooperation with the dentist. If the office manager seems unwilling to honor your request, you can ask to speak directly to the dentist.
  • As a last resort, consider getting a second opinion from another pediatric dentist.


This post is sponsored by the pediatric dentists at Naperville Dental Specialists.


Pediatric dentist says teeth grinding habit is normal for kids

By Pediatric Dentist

Our pediatric dentist says that my 4 yr old daughter’s teeth grinding is normal for her age. I’m wondering if I need to transfer my daughter to a new pediatric dentist who might know a little more. The dentist said that he will watch our daughter’s teeth to make sure she isn’t wearing them down. Other than that it’s a habit that she will grow out of. I’m very concerned about this. What if she doesn’t grow out of it? What do we do then? If intervention is needed, I want to know about it ASAP. Should I find another pediatric dentist for a second opinion to take a look at her teeth or is our pediatric dentist right? Alejandra

Alejandra – Your pediatric dentist is correct, but for peace of mind, if you want to schedule an appointment with another dentist for a second opinion, you should do so.

Consider a few facts about teeth grinding during childhood:

  • Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is common.
  • It’s most common during cycles of sleep—most frequently during non-Rapid-Eye-Movement (REM) sleep.
  • The habit usually starts after a child is one year old.
  • Sometimes the habit goes unnoticed by parents because it occurs mostly during sleep.
  • Stress can be another cause of teeth grinding.
  • Allergies, certain prescription medication, and sleep apnea can cause the habit.

If in addition to grinding her teeth, your daughter snores or breathes through her mouth, the issue might be related to sleep apnea. If you suspect that sleep apnea might be an issue, speak with your family doctor or pediatrician.

Usually, the teeth grinding habit is temporary and children grow out of it. If your daughter’s teeth grinding habit is accompanied by headaches, neck pain, earaches, or facial pain, it might be a cause for concern. Although she might not tell you that she has certain types of pain, watch closely to see if she is holding her face, jaw, or neck. It’s good that your pediatric dentist will periodically check your daughter’s teeth for signs of excessive wear. If the problem persists and it’s affecting the health of your child’s teeth, a mouth guard to wear at night might be recommended.

Along with your pediatric dentist, keep watch on your daughter’s teeth grinding habit and the condition of her teeth. It will help you and your dentist make decisions on the best way to handle the issue.

This post is sponsored by Dr. Anthony LaVacca and the pediatric dentists at Naperville Dental Specialists.

Can a pediatric dentist prevent a parent from accompanying a child with dental anxiety?

By Pediatric Dentist

I have been looking for a new pediatric dentist for my 8 yr old daughter. We recently relocated to Illinois from Indiana. Two of the offices I called have policies that don’t allow parents to accompany their children in the treatment room. When we lived in Indiana, there was no problem with me going with her into the room during the appointment. She has anxiety and I just sit quietly with her without interfering. My being there makes a big difference in how she responds to the hygienist and dentist. Is it normal in Illinois for pediatric dentists to prevent parents from accompanying their children? – Ezra

Ezra – Some offices may have policies that don’t allow parents in the treatment room, but you can find a dentist for your daughter who welcomes you to accompany her.

You Can Find a Pediatric Dentist Who Understands Dental Anxiety

Both you and your daughter need to be comfortable with the dentist you select. Many parents choose not to leave their child alone with other adults. It’s important to many dentists to ensure a child’s dental anxiety is properly addressed. The right dentist will want you and your child to have pleasant dental visits so that dental care will be something she looks forward to—and not wants to avoid.

Both of you should have trust and confidence in the dentist you select. What can you do next?

  • Keep searching – Continue to call around to find a dentist who will allow you to come into the treatment room with your daughter. Any of our pediatric dentists would be happy to see her and welcome you to join her during the appointment.
  • Schedule consultations – Regardless of which pediatric dental practice you choose, we recommend that you schedule a few consultations first and take your daughter with you. It will give you both a chance to see the office, meet the staff, and determine if you are comfortable with the dental practice.
  • Ask questions – During the consultation, specifically ask if you are able to accompanying your daughter in the treatment room. Also ask the dentist how the practice ensures the comfort of children who have anxiety about dental appointments.

This post is sponsored by Dr. Anthony LaVacca of Naperville Dental Specialists and the pediatric dentists at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry.

Pediatric dentist didn’t find an advanced cavity

By Pediatric Dentist

We have had a very long ordeal with our pediatric dentist. My five-year-old really struggles in the dental chair and won’t sit still for long. He isn’t bad. He just wiggles a lot and makes treatment a little more challenging. We started going to this practice a little over a year ago and had two visits. During the second visit, they couldn’t get x-rays completed, so they just did a visual exam and cleaning, then sent us on our way.

I assumed everything was fine. Well, about a week ago, my son woke up in the middle of the night crying and holding his mouth. He said his tooth hurt, but I couldn’t see anything wrong with it, so I gave him some Tylenol, brought him to bed with me, and called the pediatric dentist’s office the next morning. Apparently, they’re closed on Friday, so I called our family doctor who thankfully agreed to see him right away. They actually managed to get an x-ray of the tooth and the poor little guy had a bad infection. Apparently, he had a cavity brewing for quite some time and the pediatric dentist missed it. It had not only progressed to the point where he was in serious pain, but when I took him back to the dentist, they couldn’t save his tooth. My son is only five years old and he had to have a molar pulled, so that means he’s going to be without a tooth back there for several years. The office gave him a little nitrous oxide and worked with him to keep him calm and steady, then did the extraction then and there.

I am so incredibly grateful that my doctor’s office was able to identify the problem. But I’m also really mad at the pediatric dentist. I asked a lot of questions about the timeline to see if the pediatric dentist was at fault for not catching it, but my doctor wouldn’t say much, only that, “These things take some time to grow to this point.” So, he’s not saying the dentist is at fault, but he kind of is. It makes me twice as mad that they weren’t there when we needed them most. What recourse do we have on this? Thanks, Simonia

Dear Simonia,

We are sorry to hear your little one had such a tough time, but kudos to you for following your intuition and getting him squared away quickly. Kids don’t always recognize what’s happening with their teeth, so they don’t always display obvious symptoms and a big issue can seemingly appear out of nowhere.

However, as your doctor noted, it takes time for a severe cavity to progress to the point where it causes such severe pain and results in extraction. How much time it takes varies based on the child, genetics, his health, and his habits. It’s very unlikely this cavity developed after his last visit, but there are no x-rays to prove it.

Should You Take Action Against the Pediatric Dentist?

Before you take any action, consider the following:

  • You could theoretically take this to a dental board, but it would be challenging to prove the pediatric dentist missed something or did anything unethical.
  • It’s somewhat common to forego x-rays when a small child doesn’t make taking them easy. In these cases, the office will likely make note of it and try again at the next visit.
  • Kids normally are more cooperative around age 5 or 6 and become active participants in their care.
  • Unless children in a high-risk group (such as those who use bottles for an extended period of time or eat high-sugar diets), developing cavities is somewhat uncommon. So getting x-rays is not often forced with a challenging patient.
  • If your son was squirming or clamping down during the exam, it would be difficult to complete the images.
  • In hindsight, it might be easy to suggest that your son should have been sedated given a full exam and x-rays, but the pediatric had to make a judgment call about what was in his best interests and what would be less traumatic for him. It sounds like the dentist made the wrong decision, but that can only be surmised because we know the end result.

It’s highly unlikely that if you follow up with this through any legal action or authority, that you’ll get the results you want because nobody can prove anything about this particular case. You can, and should, mention it to the pediatric dentist though so hopefully another child doesn’t have the same issues your son.


This blog is sponsored by NDS Care; offering Naperville pediatric dentist services as well as comprehensive dentistry for the whole family.


Can I bypass my pediatric dentist if my inner lip tattoo is infected?

By Pediatric Dentist No Comments

I’m wondering if I can somehow bypass my pediatric dentist because my inner lip tattoo is infected and I need help. The problem is that I haven’t told my Dad about it. I’ve been rinsing my mouth with peroxide 3 times a day for the past 5 days or so. It has helped sooth it a bit, but the tattoo is still very itchy and it has fluid leaking out of it. I got the tattoo done in mid January.  At first there were no problems, but it started bothering me earlier this month. I’m 16 years old and have a part-time job so that’s how I was able to afford the tattoo. If there is something I can buy on my own to get rid of the infection, I would like to do that. Otherwise I’m wondering if I can avoid my pediatric dentist and be seen by another dentist. Thanks. Dari

Dari – Keep in mind that since you are 16 years old, you are still a minor, so any medical or dental treatment you receive requires the consent of a parent or legal guardian. No reputable dentist will treat you without that consent.

Why You Need to See Your Pediatric Dentist

You need to see your pediatric dentist right away to examine your inner lip tattoo. If the infection is caught right away, it will be easier to treat. It will spread if you allow it to linger.

You should really consider this a dental emergency. If you are unable to see your usual pediatric dentist, make an appointment with another dentist you can see you right away.

Understand the Risks

To our readers: If you are considering receiving a tattoo of any sort, be certain to find a licensed tattoo artist. Follow the instructions closely on how to care for the tattoo. An inner lip tattoo requires rinsing your mouth with alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash several times a day.

It’s also important to understand the risks of an inner lip tattoo.

  • Swelling – This occurs with a new tattoo, but should gradually go away.
  • Infection – Our mouths naturally contain bacteria, so this increases the risk of infection. Also, improper healing can lead to irritation and infection.
  • Gum recession – The tattoo ink can rub against your gums and cause irritation, gum disease, and gum recession.

Don’t ignore signs of irritation or infection. See your dentist right away.

This post is sponsored by Dr. Anthony LaVacca of award-winning Naperville Dental Specialists and the pediatric dentists at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry.

5 Ways to Find the Best Pediatric Dentist for Your Child

By Pediatric Dentist No Comments

Finding the best pediatric dentist who can meet your child’s oral health care needs isn’t easy. But it can be done. With a little homework, time, and patience, you can find an understanding talented dentist to keep your child’s smile healthy and attractive. We’ll discuss five key ways to do it.

1. Know Your Child’s Needs

Know your child’s needs and make a list of them. Is he or she comfortable in a dental chair, or anxious and nervous? If anxiety is an issue, the best pediatric dentist is one who is gentle and understanding. It may helpful to find a dentist who offers some form of mild sedation to help your child relax during appointments.

Also consider the condition of your child’s teeth. Ask yourself:

  • Are my child’s teeth healthy and aligned, or will orthodontic treatment be needed in the future?
  • Does my child have TMJ issues?
  • Are there any problems with swollen, irritated, or bleeding gums?

A more experienced pediatric dentist will be alert to those issues and refer your child to a specialist as needed.

2. Ask for Referrals

Ask friends, family members, neighbors, or co-workers if they know a good pediatric dentist. If you receive a referral, remember to ask:

  • How long their children have been patients of this particular dentist
  • What they (including the kids) do or don’t like about the dentist
  • About the dental hygienists and how well they clean teeth and interact with children

A person may love his or her dentist, but not be so pleased with the hygienist, or vice versa. The best pediatric dentist for someone else might not be the right dentist for your child. Consider what qualities in a pediatric dentist are important to you. Also ask about the dentist’s fees for services.

3. Look for the Pediatric Dentist’s Credentials

Look for pediatric dentists who show a real interest in dentistry and in children.

  • Does the dentist’s website indicate how frequently he or she participates in continuing education?
  • Does the dentist only meet the minimum requirement, or more?
  • Is the dentist a member of certain dental organizations, or is he or she board-certified?

The best pediatric dentists are serious about continuing education, and their education, training, and credentials show it. A dentist’s credentials provide you with information on his or her skill, experience, and interest in healthy smiles.

4. Look for Best Pediatric Dentist Reviews

Dentists often have reviews or testimonials on their websites. Also look for Google+, Yelp, or other reviews. Reviews are not always positive. Pay attention to each review and whether or not parents give details about what they like or dislike about a dentist’s services. Do the reviews really indicate that this might be one of the best pediatric dentists in your area?

5. Schedule Consultations

Once you identify a few dentists that might be right for you, it’s not necessary for your child to become a patient right away. Schedule a consultation with each dentist and take your child with you. It will be brief, but it will give you a chance to see the office, get a feel for the environment and the staff, and briefly chat with the dentist. A consultation can reveal how your child will be treated as a patient and whether or not this is the best dentist for your child’s needs.

Don’t Be Afraid to Switch Until You Find the Best Pediatric Dentist

Your child’s oral health and smile are important. If you’ve done everything you can to find the best pediatric dentist only to discover that it’s not the right fit, don’t be afraid to switch. Save your list of possibilities for a dentist and move on to the next one. Your child’s dental records can be transferred to another dentist. If you decide to switch, ensure that it’s to a dentist with whom you have some familiarity through a consultation or a recommendation that gives you great confidence.

This post is sponsored by Naperville Dental Specialists, the office of Dr. Anthony LaVacca. Our office is conveniently located to Warrenville, Bolingbrook, and North Aurora IL.

Need pediatric dentist for special needs children

By Pediatric Dentist No Comments

I’m looking for some advice for a pediatric dentist. My middle child, Ian, is 8 years old, and he has Down syndrome. When we lived in Ohio, we had a great family dentist. Ian liked her and actually looked forward to going to the dentist.

We moved to IL last September and since that time, I’ve switched pediatric dentists twice because Ian is uncomfortable and so are the dentists. We have 3 other children, and although I’m a stay-at-home mom, my schedule is quite busy. All of our kids are homeschooled. The most recent pediatric dentist scolded Ian for not following her commands. He is usually very cooperative. But I’ve noticed that if he is nervous around adults, he freezes. It’s not that he isn’t cooperating, he is nervous.

When we got home, Ian told me that the dentist scared him. This confusion with different dentists is beginning to make me nervous that he isn’t going to want to go to a dentist at all soon. If you can give me some insight on how to increase the chances of finding a good pediatric dentist who works well with children with special needs, I would really appreciate it. Zuri


Ian’s experience definitely shows that his most recent pediatric dentist doesn’t work well with children who have special needs.

How to Find a Pediatric Dentist for Children with Special Needs

The good news is that you can find a dentist who will work well with all of your children. It just will take a little patience and research.

Ask for recommendations

Ask friends, neighbors, family members, or other associates for recommendations on a pediatric dentist. Search for dentists online and look for patient reviews. Some dentists’ websites show that they treat children with special needs. You can also call the offices and ask if any of the dentists have experience working with Down syndrome patients or patients with special needs.

Schedule consultations

After you identify two or three pediatric dentists, schedule consultations with them, and take Ian with you. You both will be able to see the office, meet the staff, and meet the dentist. Observe how the staff members and dentist interact with Ian and how he responds to them. It will tell you if your son is comfortable and if this dentist might be right for your son’s needs.

After the Switch to a New Pediatric Dentist

After you switch to a new pediatric dentist, if Ian is still anxious, carefully consider the cause of his discomfort. Is he anxious due to previous negative experiences, or is he uncomfortable with this particular dental practice? Sedation dentistry, or nitrous oxide, might be an option to help him relax until he is comfortable with the new dental team. If the way he is being treated at the office is the cause of his anxiety, don’t hesitate to find another dentist.

Your son’s comfort at a pediatric dentist can have long-term effects. Choose carefully.

This post is sponsored by Naperville dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca of Naperville Dental Specialists.

Why Won’t Pediatric Dentist Treat Kids Teeth with Turmeric?

By Pediatric Dentist No Comments

My kids and I love their pediatric dentist. Teghan, our 5-year-old daughter, has beginning stages of a cavity. We brush her teeth twice a day and floss daily, but she still is developing a cavity. Our kids can have one sugary snack on the weekend, so that’s not the cause either.

We think that Teghan might be eating sweets at school. Regardless, something has to be done about the cavity. I prefer natural treatment. So I’ve done a lot of research online to find out what can work. Turmeric works well for tooth decay, but I am having trouble convincing our pediatric dentist to use it on my daughter’s filling. Her dentist is aware of the benefits of turmeric, but she won’t fill the tooth with it.

Although I don’t want to switch dentists, if I can find a holistic pediatric dentist who will work with me and fill the tooth as I’m requesting, that would be great. What are my chances of finding a pediatric dentist who will use turmeric for fillings? Thanks. Felicity


The primary ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. It is said to have many health benefits. But turmeric has not been approved for use in pediatric dentistry, or any other branch of dentistry, so it’s unlikely that you can find a pediatric dentist who will use it for fillings.

Turmeric and Dentistry

Studies show that turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial value. Clinical trials are being conducted to determine the medical and dental benefits of the spice.

One 2017 article in the International Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry published a study is entitled, Clinical and Radiological Evaluation of Turmeric Powder as a Pulpotomy Medicament in Primary Teeth: An in vivo Study. The study can be found online on the website of the U.S. National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health.

Turmeric for Pulpotomy in Primary Teeth – An Overview

  • Pulpotomy is used to preserve primary teeth. It’s important to save primary teeth instead of extracting them because they maintain spacing between teeth and help permanent teeth erupt correctly.
  • 50 children who had dental cavities were included in the study. Their ages were between 4 and 9.
  • 15 out of 50 were selected. After tooth decay was removed, teeth were filled with a mixture of turmeric powder, distilled water, and radiolucent material.
  • Follow-up appointments were scheduled three weeks, two months, four months, and six months after the turmeric fillings were placed.
  • Treatment was considered successful if the following conditions were observed:
    • A tooth was free of decay.
    • No pain was felt when pressure or movement was applied to a tooth.
    • There was no tenderness in the tooth.

What were the results?

After six months, only one of the fifteen patients reported pain in a tooth that had a turmeric filling. There were no issues in the teeth with tenderness, mobility, and sinus/fistula.

Although this study was successful, more clinical trials are needed to prove the effectiveness of using turmeric in dentistry for children.

Your Pediatric Dentist Is Taking Preventive Action

You have a good routine for taking care of your daughter’s teeth. Keep it up. If your pediatric dentist is recommending a filling or a pulpotomy, her intent is to save your daughter’s primary teeth so they will guide the permanent teeth.

The post is sponsored by Dr. Anthony LaVacca and the pediatric dentists at Naperville Dental Specialists.

Close Menu